Daingerfield State Park: Hiking and Birding Activity

Daingerfield State Park is a great birding site in the Pineywoods region of Texas. The park’s 551 acres feature blooming dogwoods in spring. There is a 2.5 mile hiking trail circles the lake. The hike is ranked as easy, made of most of a dirt surface, with a short section of paved road. The suggested duration for the hike is one to two hours with the recommended seasons being fall through spring. During the summer months the region is noted for being very hot and humid.

The trail head is located within Daingerfield State Park (entrance fee required) at the large parking lot near the bathhouse and picnic area above the lake.

Key birds seen at the park include:

Year round Species:

Wood Duck

Male

 

Habitat: wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks, has sharp claws for perching in trees. Feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores.

 

 

Female

 

Habitat: wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks, has sharp claws for perching in trees. Feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. typically lay between 7 and 15 white-tan eggs that incubate for an average of 30 days. Females may lay eggs in the nests of their neighbours, which may lead to nests which may contain as many as 40 eggs and unsuccessful incubation, a behaviour known as “nest dumping

Wild Turkey

 

Habitat: Wild turkeys are omnivorous, foraging on the ground or climbing shrubs and small trees to feed. eating hard acorns, nuts, and various trees, including hazel, chestnut, hickory, and pinyon pine as well as various seeds, berries such as juniper and bearberry, roots and insects. Turkeys also occasionally consume amphibians and small reptiles such as lizards and snakes. Wild turkeys often feed in cow pastures, sometimes visit back yard bird feeders, and favor croplands after harvest to scavenge seed on the ground. Turkeys are also known to eat a wide variety of grasses.

 

 

 

Red Headed Woodpecker

Habitat: fly to catch insects in the air or on the ground, forage on trees or gather and store nuts, omnivorous, eating insects, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and even the eggs of other birds. About two thirds of their diet is made up of plants. Nest in a cavity in a dead tree, utility pole, or a dead part of a tree that is between 8 and 80 feet above the ground.They lay four to seven eggs in early May which are incubated for two weeks. Two broods can be raised in a single nesting season. Birds are often permanent residents.

 

 

 

Pileated Woodpecker

Habitat: Eat insects, especially carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae, fruits, nuts, and berries, including poison ivy berries. They often chip out large and roughly rectangular holes in trees while searching out insects. Pairs stay together in its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate floaters during the winter. Beeding habitat is forested areas with large trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-breasted Nuthatch

Habitat: White-breasted Nuthatch forages for insects on trunks and branches, and is able to move head-first down trees. Seeds form a substantial part of its winter diet, as do acorns and hickory nuts and breeds in old-growth woodlands.

 

 

Brown headed Nuthatch

Habitat: Possesses a sharp black nail-like beak, which it uses to pound open seeds. The bird is frequently observed using a small chip of bark held in its beak as a tool to dig for insects

 

 

 

 

Pine Warbler

Male

 

 

 

 

Female

They forage slowly on tree trunks and branches by poking their bill into pine cones. These birds also find food by searching for it on the ground. These birds mainly eat insects, seeds and berries.

 

Their nests are deep, open cups, which are placed near the end of a tree branch. Pine Warblers prefer to nest in pine trees,

 

Bachman’s Sparrow

Habitat: Breeding habitat is open pine forests. The domed nest is usually built on the ground near a clump of grass or a bush. Females lay 3–5 eggs. Bachman’s sparrows inhabit areas with a dense layer of ground vegetation and open mid-stories with scattered shrubs and saplings, including young clearcuts and open pine forests.

 

 

 

Summer Species

Anhinga

Habitat: Found all over the in warm shallow waters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck-wills widow

Habitat: Found in the southeastern United States near swamps, rocky uplands, and pine woods.

It eats primarily insects, particular those active at night such as moths, beetles, and winged ants. It will also eat small birds, swallowing them whole.

Females do not build nests, but rather lay eggs on patches of dead leaves on the ground. The eggs, which are pink with spots of brown and lavender, are subsequently incubated by the female.

 

Scissortail Flycatcher

Habitat: Breeding habitat is open shrubby country with scattered trees and build a cup nest. The male performs a spectacular aerial display during courtship with his long tail forks streaming out behind him. Both parents feed the young. They are very aggressive in defending their nest. Clutches contain three to six eggs. Feed mainly on insects (grasshoppers, robber-flies, and dragonflies), which they may catch by waiting on a perch and then flying out to catch them in flight. They also eat some berries.

 

Wood Thrush

Habitat: Prefers deciduous and mixed forests for breeding. Soil invertebrates and larvae make up most of the Wood Thrush’s omnivorous diet, but it will also eat fruits in the late summer, fall, and late winter. It occasionally feeds on arboreal insects, snails, and small salamanders. The young are fed insects and some fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Throated Warbler

Habitat: The Yellow-throated Warbler is a woodland species with a preference for coniferous or swamp tree species, in which it preferably nests. They are insectivorous, but will include a considerable amount of berries and nectar in their diet outside the breeding season. Food is typically picked off tree branches directly, but flying insects may be caught in a brief hover.

These birds build cup-shaped nests which are built in a trees, and are concealed amongst conifer needles or Spanish Moss . Their clutches consist of 3-5 (usually 4) eggs.

 

 

Pronotonary Warbler

Male

 

Breeds in hardwood Swamps in. It is the only eastern warbler that nests in natural or artificial cavities, sometimes using old Downy Woodpecker holes. The male often builds several incomplete, unused nests in his territory. The preferred foraging habitat is dense, woody streams, where the Prothonotary Warbler forages actively in low foliage, mainly for Insects and snails.

 

Female

 

Habitat: Female builds real nest (see description of male above) and lays about 3-7 eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

Kentucky Warbler

Habitat: The Kentucky Warbler is a very common bird with a large range, frequenting moist deciduous forests.

Kentucky Warblers nest on the ground hidden at the base of a shrub or in a patch of weeds in an area of ample vegetation. The female will lay between 3 to 6 eggs, which are white or cream-colored and specked with brown. Incubation is done by the female only, and lasts for about 12 days. The young Kentucky Warblers usually leave the nest about 10 days after hatching.

 

Hooded Warbler

Habitat: feed on insects, which are often found in low vegetation or caught by flycatching. Hooded Warblers’ breeding habitats are broadleaved woodlands with dense undergrowth. These birds nest in low areas of a bush, laying 3-5 eggs in a cup-shaped nest. Hooded Warblers are often the victims of brood parisitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird, especially where the Hooded Warblers’ forest habitats are fragmented.

 

 

Louisana Waterthrush

 

Habitat: The breeding habitat is wet woodlands near running water. Louisiana Waterthrushes nest in a rock crevice or amongst tree roots, laying 4–6 eggs in a cup nest. These birds are terrestrial feeders, seeking insects, molluscs, and crustaceans amongst the leaf litter.

 

 

Indigo Bunting

 

Habitat: Farmland, brush areas, and open woodlands. Nest-building and incubation are done solely by the female. The diet of the Indigo Bunting consists primarily of insects during the summer months and seeds during the winter months.

 

 

 

Painted Bunting

Habitat: The Painted Bunting is found in thickets, woodland edges and brushy areas, along roadsides. The Painted Bunting eats seeds, spiders, insects, and caterpillars. It lays 3 or 4 gray-white eggs, spotted with brown which are incubated by the female for about 11–13 days and the young are ready to leave the nest around 2 weeks after hatching.

 

 

 

Dickcissel

Habitat: Dickcissels forage on the ground or in fields. They mainly eat insects and seeds. Outside of the nesting season, they usually feed in flocks. They are considered a pest by farmers in some regions because flocks can consume large quantities of cultivated grains. The birds migrate to their breeding range. They nest near the ground in dense grasses or small shrubs, or up to 3–4 ft (90–120 cm) high in bushes and trees. Males may have up to six mates, with most attracting only one or two, and several failing to attract any mates at all. Yet if such “bachelors” survive until next summer, they will get another try to attract females, as the partners only stay together for raising one brood. Dickcissels are thus among the few songbirds that are truly polygynous. When they leave for winter quarters by early August or so,what little pair bond existed during the summer is broken up.

 

 

 

 

Winter Species

American White Pelican

Habit.at: In winter quarters, they are rarely found on the open seashore, preferring estuaries and lakes. catches its prey while swimming. Each bird eats more than 4 pounds of food a day mostly fish such as Common Carp, Lahontan Tui Chub and shiners, Yellow Perch,catfish, and jackfish. Other animals eaten by these birds are crayfish and amphibians. Birds nesting on saline lakes, where food is scarce, will travel great distances to better feeding grounds.

 

 

Osprey

Habitat: The Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. As its other common name suggests, the Osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bald Eagle

Habitat: The Bald Eagle prefers habitats near seacoasts, rivers, large lakes, oceans, and other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish. Studies have shown a preference for bodies of water with a circumference greater than 11 km (7 mi), and lakes with an area greater than 10 square kilometers (4 sq mi) are optimal for breeding Bald Eagles.

The Bald Eagle requires old-growth and mature stands of coniferous or hardwood trees for perching, roosting, and nesting. Selected trees must have good visibility, an open structure, and proximity to prey, but the height or species of tree is not as important as an abundance of comparatively large trees surrounding the body of water. Forests used for nesting should have a canopy cover of no more than 60 percent, and no less than 20 percent, and be in close proximity to water.

 

 

 

Le Conte’s Sparrow

Habitat: The Le Conte’s Sparrow prefers moist open grassy areas with sufficient vegetation cover to provide shelter. Known habitat use includes meadows, fields, crop stubble, shallow marshy edges, prairie, and occasionally fens and lake-shores within the boreal forest.

 

 

 

Fox Sparrow

Habitat: These birds forage by scratching the ground, which mak.es them vulnerable to cats and other predators, though they are generally plentiful. They mainly eat seeds and insects, as well as some berries.

 

 

 

Harris Sparrow

Habitat: Breeds at edge of boreal forest and tundra. Winters along hedgerows, shelterbelts, agricultural fields, weed patches, and pastures. Feeds on Seeds, fruits, arthropods, and young conifer needles.

 

 

 

 

Rusty Blackbird

Habitat: Their breeding habitat is wet temperate coniferous forests. The cup nest is located in a tree or dense shrub, usually over water. Birds often nest at the edge of ponds/wetland complexes and travel large distances to feed at the waters edge.

 

 

 

Purple House Finch

Male

Habitat: These birds forage in trees and bushes, sometimes in ground vegetation. They mainly eat seeds, berries and insects. They are fond of sunflower seeds, millet, and thistle.

 

 

 

Female

 

Habitat: Their breeding habitat is coniferous and mixed forest, as well as various wooded areas. They nest on a horizontal branch or in a fork of a tree.

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